PGMA set to sign Philippine National Red Cross Charter

March 16, 2010 10:34 pm 

MANILA, March 16 — President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is set to sign into law the Congress-ratified bill recognizing the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) as an auxiliary to the authorities of the Republic of the Philippines in the humanitarian field.

The enrolled measure otherwise known as the "Philippine Red Cross Act of 2009," a consolidation of House Bill 6509 and Senate Bill 3285, amends the Charter of the Philippine National Red Cross to emphasize the country’s commitment to the intentions and objectives of the Geneva Convention to which the Philippines is a signatory.

Under the consolidated measure, certain provisions in the PNRC Charter will be clarified in regard to its nature as a voluntary organization and its relation to the national government.

As a declared principle, Speaker Prospero Nograles said, the State shall always comply with the provisions in the Geneva Convention and promote the development of an autonomous Red Cross Society that provides humanitarian relief and assistance.

Buhay party-list Rep. Ma. Carissa Coscolluela, principal author of House Bill 6509, said the bill empowers the PNRC to enter into agreement with public authorities and accept provisions for the cost of any service or activity, which may be entrusted to it, within the scope of its objectives and functions.

"It also promotes civic consciousness among the youth and exempts the PNRC from paying real property taxes on all its real properties," said Coscolluela.

PNRC shall also be exempt from paying direct and indirect income taxes including value-added tax on all income derived from its operations, including the use, lease or sale of its real property and provision of services. This exemption shall also extend to its importations and purchases for its exclusive use.

The bill also clarified PNRC’s tax-exempt status insofar as donations, legacies and gifts to the PNRC is concerned with the provision that the donor shall be exempt from donor’s tax.

Under the measure, membership in the PNRC shall be open to the entire Philippine population regardless of citizenship. Members of the civil service are not barred from joining the Philippine National Red Cross.

Other co-authors of the measure are Reps. Felix Alfelor Jr. (4th District, Camarines Sur), Eduardo Zialcita (1st District, Paranaque City), Rex Gatchalian (1st District, Valenzuela City), Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro), and Exequiel Javier (Antique). (PNA)

LAP/LGI

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